Spotlight: A+ Soapmaking Studio

A+ Soapmaking Studio, currently teaching soapmaking, business classes and more to students in the local southern California area and beyond, had an unexpected start. Owner Kerri Mixon had just joined the HSCG as the owner of Pallas Athene Soap and attended her very first conference that same year in Tucson, Arizona. Inspired by the incredible meeting of the minds that happened at the 2003 conference, Kerri started free Soapmakers Luncheons shortly thereafter. “I…decided a gathering of like-minded kindred soapmakers was too precious to have just once a year”.soapmaking studio logo

Her quarterly SoCal Soapmakers’ Luncheons grew and Kerri began bringing in guest speakers ranging from lavender growers to marketing specialists and beyond. It didn’t take long for luncheon attendees to recognize Kerri’s expertise and to start requesting formal classes.

Between Pallas Athene’s growing business and her desire to protect intellectual property, Kerri resisted, but soapmakers persisted until, as Kerri says, “I realized I had an obligation to provide my fellow soapmakers with accurate modern soapmaking technology”. In 2009, bureaucracy conquered and curriculum developed, the A+ Soapmaking Studio opened its doors and joined the Guild as a vendor member.

The Studio quickly took off, bringing students from as far away as Taiwan and Belize, and garnering local media attention. Today, the Beginning Cold Process Soapmaking class (Soapmaking 101, of course!) consistently sells out. “The most surprising aspect of teaching soapmaking classes,” shares Kerri, “is how eager people are to learn. I’m always amazed by what people will endure to learn and I’m grateful for their tenacity.”

Peruse the A+ Soapmaking Studio’s current class list here. You can also catch Kerri in action at the 2013 HSCG conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she will be presenting a two-part session on the chemistry and properties of fatty acids and oils.

Thank you, A+ Soapmaking Studio, for sharing a sneak peek into your past. We can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

Ready, aim, TWEET!

Social media mavens and aspiring soaparazzi, get your cameras and typing fingers ready. The conference is always atwitter (pun unintentional, but we’re totally running with it) with great information. We want to reward you for sharing some of it and are running a social media contest at the upcoming Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild conference in Raleigh to do just that.

Prizes will be awarded for both best post (blog or tweet) and best conference photo.

winning soapconf12 picture

The rules, you ask? Simple:

–        Everyone who attends the conference is eligible for entry.

–        Tag your entries with #soapconf13

–        Competition runs from start of conference through the last speaker:

  • If you’re taking a half-day seminar, this means Thursday, May 16th 10am (at the start of the seminars) through Sunday, May 19th at 5pm
  • For everyone else, the competition runs Friday, May 17th 8:15am (at the official welcome and orientation) through Sunday, May 19th at 5pm

–        Competition closes Sunday, May 19th at 5pm with the conclusion of the last sessions

winning soapconf12 tweet

Winners will be announced and awarded a $75 gift certificate at the Annual Awards Dinner Sunday evening. Check out some of last year’s blog posts covering the HSCG conference and let your creativity roll.

May the best post and picture win!

Soap Angel Investors

Angel investors are a well-known concept in Silicon Valley, where their deep pockets help start up cash-strapped businesses. Have you ever heard, however, of the soap angel concept?

AngelPhoto by Flickr member Paul Esson. Used under a Creative Commons License.

Soapmakers are a generous bunch, as the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild has witnessed many times over. This past week, that generosity of spirit surfaced again, when HSCG member, Scentability owner and soap angel Tricia Samundsen mobilized the soapmaking community to raise a record-breaking $1300 in 11 hours for fellow soapmaker Sonya Black.


Sonya is the owner of Luxuriously Natural Soaps, a soap, candle, and handcrafted personal care product company based out of North Carolina. She met Tricia through online networking forums for soapmakers, where she is a frequent presence. Sonya had been saving for many months to be able to attend the 2013 HSMG conference in Raleigh when a breast cancer diagnosis turned her world upside down and canceled her conference plans.

With the HSCG conference quickly selling out, Tricia was inspired to make sure that Sonya was one of this year’s participants. She kicked off her secret mission Easter Sunday, using Facebook to invite all of her soapmaking friends to a group called “Soap Sisters and Brothers Unite!” Within an hour of the first invites, Tricia had raised over half of the conference fee. Bolstered by her early success, she decided to raise not only the conference fee, but also enough money to cover Sonya’s hotel stay and an extra meal ticket, should Sonya decide to travel with company. Hundreds of soapmakers pitched in their verbal and monetary support to help send Sonya to the conference.

Ultimately, the group raised almost $2000, enough to meet all their initial goals, provide Sonya with extra spending money for the conference (gotta enter those raffles!), and purchase her an HSCG membership with insurance. Reflecting on the experience, Tricia shares “the love and sense of family and a true tight knit community was so present that night, I cried tears of joy a couple of times!!”

Copyright usage granted to: Tricia Samundsen

Says Tricia, “Sonya is such a sweet, loving and special woman. Just having her around on the FB Groups has been a treasure! Now being able to meet her in person and to be able to say I was one of many people to help her get to this year’s conference is great! I have been overwhelmed and humbled by the response I received from my idea! SOAPERS ROCK!” Truly, a story of a soap angel if we’ve ever heard one.

Thank you, Tricia and Sonya, for allowing us to share this story. We can’t wait to see you BOTH at this year’s conference!!